The opening segment of this past week’s Monday Night Raw gave Roman Reigns a chance to show why Vince McMahon needs to think about lining his pockets with help from a heel Roman. With this showcase comes a dose of irony, as what is going to make Roman the company’s top heel is what should have made him the company’s top face as originally planned.
In a stroke of wisdom, WWE let Big Cass, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins do the talking during Raw’s opening segment, a Corey Graves-hosted four-way interview with the night’s contestants for the WWE Universal Championship. Owens and Rollins proved that being a trolling heel has become the new face as they made snarky comments about the other competitors. Big Cass played the “I have nothing to lose” card, as he made it clear that he knows where he stood in the overarching context of the match.
Then, Rollins made a point that goes beyond the realm of just his own history with Reigns. He said that there are only three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and Roman Reigns loses to Seth Rollins every single time.
But it was Reigns’ cheap shot of Owens that stood out to those who’d been hoping to see the Samoan wrestler take a turn to darker ways that had many excited. On top of the instant reactions to the images of the competitors, he gave us a fleeting glimpse of what the WWE landscape with a heel Roman Reigns may look like, and it was beautiful. Now, it is time to commit to placing Reigns and the company he works for in the position that is going to allow this polarizing star to make the most impact — and money.
Roman Reigns has been a face within WWE ever since he became the backup fan favorite in the 2014 Royal Rumble, won by Batista in a creative decision that is still detested to this day.
Also at that time, Roman Reigns was cool. During The Shield’s Joker-inspired personal camera segments, he was always the last to speak, and he said just enough to remind that night’s target was in for a world of hurt. He did not have to say much else; he was not out there to portray something he wasn’t, with boatloads of catchphrases and inspirational quotes to make little kids blush and parents satisfied.
He was simply what Paul Heyman has described him to be on numerous occasion: a Samoan badass. Nothing more. Nothing less.
In the two years that followed, WWE creative tied cement shoes onto Reigns, thinking that jokes and one-liners weighted with sophomoric alliteration was going to qualify him as the successor to John Cena. He was forced down the throats of fans, and he did little else beyond portray the face characters he most likely watched for years as his family was in the business.
Monday Night’s opening segment put Roman Reigns in an interested juxtaposition with Rollins and Owens (Cass was just kind of there). The segment opened up with mid-range profile shots of each competitor, equipped with the live fan reactions as they saw the same camera shots on the Titantron. Reigns was overwhelmingly booed as Owens and Rollins, pure heels, were overwhelmingly celebrated by the live crowd.
Roman did not have to speak. He did not have to do much beyond sit there and take in the moment and look intimidating, exactly as he did as the enforcer of The Shield. He is a built-in heel already, and a definitive heel turn will instantaneously begin to draw money for the Monday Night Raw brand.
Triple H’s betrayal of Seth Rollins automatically makes Rollins the top babyface on Raw, and his and Roman Reign’s history has proven that their rivalry will always have a creative backdrop worthy of paying money to see. WWE is now going to acknowledge that Seth Rollins is beloved by the WWE Universe. However, even as a babyface, it would be creatively be illogical to have he and Roman fighting anywhere remotely close to the same battle. Thus, Roman must turn heel, giving the WWE Universe Rollins and Reigns both in the exact position they always wanted them in.
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins do not have to feud right away, or even anytime in the near future. However, Roman Reigns as heel is going to be accepted by the WWE Universe as a whole, and fan are going to line up in droves, hoping to witness the eventual downfall of the biggest heel in the company.